Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Little Free Libraries: A Boon to Book Promotion, Neighborhoods and Literacy

This little column is a regular feature of my SharingwithWriters newsletter. Those who would like to subscribe will find a form and free e-book offer at
Itty Bitty Column
By Mindy Phillips Lawrence
In the world of Kindles and Nooks, the same world in which electronics seem to rule the universe, a strange event is occurring. People are building little libraries in their communities, often outside of their homes and apartments, where anyone can drive or walk by, take a book to read, and either return the same book or bring back another one. I am talking about the phenomenon begun in 2009 called the Little Free Library movement.

Holly June Graves and her husband E.W. have built the little library shown in the picture above. She’s an avid reader and he’s a retired mechanic who became interested in carpentry. He made birdhouses and bookshelves until Holly plugged him into the idea of building libraries. The libraries he builds are not on the Carnegie Library scale. Instead, they are tiny offerings of books to the public, block by block. These containers can be one-story or two-story edifices. In fact, someone converted an old bread box from the thrift store into a Little Library. They’ve spurred creativity, reading and community sharing.

The Little Free Library idea was born in Wisconsin. According to its Mission Statement on it webpage, they are designed to:

*Promote literacy and the love of reading by building free book exchanges worldwide.

*Build a sense of community as we share skills, creativity, and wisdom across generations.

*Build more than 2,500 libraries around the world—more that Andrew Carnegie—and then more. One has opened in Ghana!
If you want to know if there are any Little Free Libraries in your area, go to: Search the map to see where to find a library in your neck of the woods. Not all of them are registered but many are
If you find a Little Free Library near you, take something to read and bring something back. You might also leave a small kindly written note while you are there saying, “Thank you.”


Little Free Library Organization


Using Books to Build Community


Community Closeup – Little Free Library


Little Free Libraries – Austin, Texas


Facebook – Little Free Library


Little Free Libraries – Green Bay, Wisconsin


Build Your OWN Little Free Library


Little Free Libraries Movement Keeps Gaining Momentum


~Mindy Phillips Lawrence is a writer, editor, and artist based in Springfield, Missouri. You can reach her at mplcreative at or view her Web site at
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor

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